You may have never heard of camelina oil, but this ancient oilseed extract could be just the supplement your horse needs.
The folks at Saskatchewan-based Canpressco certainly think so! They cold-press and bottle the 100% all-natural, non-GMO oil from the plant camelina sativa they grow and harvest themselves in the province.
The Canpressco story began around 2007 when neighbouring Midale, Saskatchewan farmers, Colin Rosengren, Dan Vandenhurk and Ron Emde, sought to create natural, traceable and transparent products. They started experimenting with camelina, which originated in Northern Europe and Central Asia, and, in 2011, began selling camelina oil to the health-food market under the aptly-named Three Farmers brand.
“We always had interest from horse owners, and dog owners as well,” said Natasha Vandenhurk, company CEO and part-owner (and also Dan’s daughter). “They would try the oil on their animal’s food and saw fantastic results, most obviously in coat health and shine. But significantly, people were saying it managed inflammation. Horses that had been lame for months were loping across fields within weeks of using the product. We heard this time and time again.”
In 2016, Canpressco introduced its camelina oil product for equines. The benefit to horses mainly stems from the oil’s fatty acid balance. Horses get most of their necessary omega-3 from forage. Restricted grazing and Canada’s short pasture growing season, combined with omega-6-rich grain diets, throws off the critical ratio of these fatty acids.
“Horses are natural grazers. They’re used to having higher levels of omega-3 than omega-6 in their bodies. When the balance gets out of whack, it aggravates inflammation and creates rebound effects throughout the body.”
The product’s high vitamin E content helps keep the oil stable and fresh compared to flax oil, for example, which becomes rancid quickly. “You can leave camelina oil in your barn, you don’t have to refrigerate it, and it has a two-year shelf life from press date.”
All elements of production are fully integrated by Canpressco, so customers not only know they’re feeding their horses high-quality camelina oil, but can trace back to each documented step along the way if they desire.
Canpressco’s camelina oil is available in a 500-millilitre bottle, a four-litre jug and a 20-litre pail through Canadian distributors Cavalier Equestrian Inc. and Western Rawhide & Harness Mfg Inc.